Objective: This study was undertaken to examine the role of gender as it relates to access to housing among individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) in Canada. Design: An exploratory, qualitative approach was used to assess the perspectives of Canadian housing experts. The focus of inquiry was on the role of gender and associated intersections (eg, ethnicity) in pathways to housing access and housing needs for individuals with SMI. Setting: A purposeful sampling strategy was undertaken to access respondents across all Canadian geographic regions, with diversity across settings (urban and rural) and service sectors (hospital based and community based). Participants: –29 individuals (6 men and 23 women) considered to be experts in a housing service context as it pertains to SMI were recruited. On average, participants had worked for 15 years in services that specialised in the support and delivery of housing services to people with SMI. Measures: Semistructured interviews with participants focused on the role gender plays in access to housing in their specific context. Barriers and facilitators were examined as were intersections with other relevant factors, such as ethnicity, poverty and parenthood. Quantitative ratings of housing accessibility as a function of gender were also collected. Results: Participants across geographic contexts described a lack of shelter facilities for women, leading to a reliance on exploitative circumstances. Other findings included a compounding of discrimination for ethnic minority women, the unique resource problems faced in rural contexts, and the difficulties that attend access to shelter and housing for parents with SMI. Conclusions: These findings suggest that, along with a generally poor availability of housing stock for individuals with SMI, access problems are compounded by a lack of attention to the unique needs and illness trajectories that attend gender.